The Goshawk is a raptor with short, broad wings and a long tail. Males are 46-57 cm (18-22 in) long and have a 89-105 cm (35-41 in) wingspan and at 780 g. The female is much larger, 58-69 cm (23-27 in) long with a 108-127 cm (43-50 in) wingspan and at 1,220 g. Across most of the species' range, it is blue-grey above and barred grey or white below, but Asian subspecies range from nearly white overall to nearly black above. The juvenile is brown above and barred brown below. Juveniles and adults have a barred tail, with dark brown or black barring. Adults always have a white eye stripe. In North America, juveniles have pale-yellow eyes, and adults develop dark red eyes usually after their second year.

Habitat and Distribution

It is a widespread species that inhabits the temperate parts of the northern hemisphere. It is found in both Eurasia and North America. Goshawks can be found in both deciduous and coniferous forests. They seem to only thrive in areas with mature, old-growth woods. During nesting season, they favor tall trees with intermediate canopy coverage and small openings below for hunting. They can be found at almost any altitude, but are typically found at high elevations. In winter they move to lower elevations.


Goshawks are often seen flying low and fast hoping to surprise unsuspecting prey. Their diet is comprised by either birds or mammals depending on location.


Breeding begins in spring. . Nests are bulky structures, made of dead twigs, lined with leafy green twigs or bunches of conifer needles and pieces of bark. The clutch size is usually 2 to 4. Each egg is laid at 2- to 3-day intervals. The eggs are bluish-white and roughly-textured. The female is the primary incubator, although the male will sometimes take a shift to give the female a chance to eat. The incubation period can range from 28 to 38 days.

Calls and Songs

They may use a `whistle-beg` call as a plea for food. It begins as a ke-ke-ke noise, and progresses to a kakking sound. The chick may also use a high pitched `contentment-twitter` when it is well fed.